Cave-in at Hydro power plant claims two lives

Two subcontractor employees were killed on Saturday May 9 in a cave-in during work on a tunnel at Hydro’s hydroelectric power plant in western Norway.

The cave-in occurred just before 14.00 Saturday in a tunnel where the two workers, employees of Veidekke Entreprenør AS and another subcontractor, were performing repairs.

The Røldal-Suldal power plant is located in the county of Hordaland, about 200 kilometers northeast of Hydro’s aluminium plant at Karmøy. The search party found one of the workers quickly, while the other was found early Sunday morning. The search was mounted under difficult conditions for the second worker in the tunnel.

“The work being undertaken was well-planned repairs where a cave-in had occurred about a year ago. Hydro takes safety very seriously. Before the tunnel work began, Hydro undertook a thorough evaluation of what was to be done. What happened absolutely should not have happened – with fatal results,” says Ola Sæter, executive vice president responsible for the Energy business area in a press release.

“What happened, and what went wrong, we just don’t know right now. That will be the task of the investigation. Regardless of the reasons why, our thoughts go out to the next of kin and collegues,” Sæter says. A crisis center has been established at the power station and telephone contacts have been set up for family and friends.

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.